Leslie Speer, IDSA | Maryland Institute College of Art
IDSA Design for the Majority Section Chair: 2006–2013
IDSA Educator of the Year: 2009
Leslie Speer IDSA, was one of the founders of IDSA's Design for the Majority professional interest section and served as chair from its formation in spring 2006 through summer 2011.
Speer is a designer and educator with a long time passion for helping people use design to improve their world and others’ lives. For the last 15 years she has been educating students, currently as a professor in industrial design at San José State University and, before that, as professor and assistant chair at the California College of the Arts. She emphasizes innovative interdisciplinary courses and projects, often with students or user populations in emerging markets like as Africa, Central America and China. She pioneered the teaching of sustainable design and design research to undergraduates while at CCA and for 10 years co-taught a new product development class with design students collaborating with MBA and graduate engineering students from UC Berkeley. Speer earned IDSA's Education Award in 2009.
Professionally she has worked for companies and clients in the US, Europe and Mexico, including Dupont, Philips, Oracle/Sun Microsystems, frog design, the Costa Rican Ministry of Culture, Banomex and various NGOs. She has extensive consulting experience in developing markets in Mexico, Costa Rica, China and Cameroon working on initiatives using design to create economic stability for artisans and rural farmers. She is a guest lecturer at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle in Paris and at the Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts in China.
She has her bachelor's in industrial design from California State University at Long Beach and her master's in design (MDES) from Middlesex University in the UK.